someday ill be in company of all....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland

Title: Girl in hyacinth blue
Author:Susan Vreeland
Publisher: Headline book Publishing
Price: Rs 830
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Borrowed

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Through eight short stories the book takes on the lives of owner of the painting "Girl in hyacinth blue" a fictional painting by the late Dutch artist Vermeer from 1990's to late 1660's in the chronological order...

 Prior to reading this one,I read Girl with a pearl earring ...Unlike girl with a pearl earring that deals with the artist Vermeer his life and work ., this about the people who own the painting....With every change of wall where it is hung the painting goes through different mood and set of life, yet one common mood  that follows is that of longing and melancholy...The painting portrays a girl wearing brilliant hyacynth blue dress looking out of  the window with longing and dreams..The book has weaved together through threads of short stories., that depicts each owner dating in a chronological order from 1995., that is when the painting is burnt to 1665 that takes us back to Vermeer's studio...Cornelius Englebrecht is a math teacher who has a haunting past attached with the painting... His father looted  the painting from Vredengurg family in Amsterdam during the Nazi era, Englebrecht is proud of his possession yet he isn't honoured enough to display it in public, yet one day he shows off it to his colleague an art professor., who is instantly  appreciative about the strokes and painting with awe confirming its ingenuity , yet Englebrecht ends up burning the paining to relive himself from its burden...The book slowly starts to unfold Dutch history through each story as the painting journeys to a place..The painting is given as a token of love to some at times offered as a bribe ,few more stolen by the force of greed, it holds different meaning ...Magdelena is the model and Vermeer's daughter..The novel also explores Vermeer's life....Vermeer was always lost in his painting living in a totally different world away from his family, being away from a father and the longing for his love is transcended in the painting as well through her face, later after Vermeer's death  she sells it to the local baker...The chapters are written in a combination of first and third person account.. Chapter "Magdelena looking" appealed to me most, but few chapters just fell flat..The painting is a treasured possession to some and for few its just another painting...Aunt Rika wraps the painting on her illegitimate child as a bribe to her nephew Adriaan carrying a message sell the painting feed the baby in order to sustain her honour in the society..Initially sold for 300 gilder the painting is sold low even for 24 gilder, Vreeland hints upon the ignorance and appreciation of art through these and also the fact that at times in spite of the attachment people are forced to part away with it during terrible times....Each owner gets the painting to fill in with something that person has been missing so far and that ranges from lost love, child and so on...Though I loved girl with a pearl earring more , I should not forget that  both fall in a different plane all together....Vreeland has richly filled in with historic aspect of past lives of common people...The book is for all who love fiction in terms of art and artists...

1 comment:

  1. Your commentary is as always perceptive and really gives a great sense for the feel of the book VB. This sounds really good. The idea behind the story reminds me a little of "The Red Violin". I find this kind of plot, where an object is seen passing from person to person and thus the person's story, to be very appealing.


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